Oldest cider-making families in the world sets foot in Mumbai

Updated: Dec 04, 2018, 10:24 IST | Phorum Dala | Mumbai

Wild fermented and aged in 100-year-old barrels, a cider by one of the oldest cider-making families in the world sets foot in the city this week


Here's trivia about cider that most of us might not know. A traditional drink of the English countryside, it was favoured by the aristocracy in the 17th century, and then went on to become the 'pay' for the working classes who laboured in the fields.

Next week, Mumbaikars will get a taste of UK-based Sheppy's Cider from one of the oldest cider-making families in the world with a proud history that goes back 202 years. Presently, the city offers ciders brewed and processed in India by White Owl, Gateway brewery and Moonshine Meadery.

Out of three ciders slated to release in India by Morgan Beverages, Mumbai will first get the Classic Draught Cider, which has a 5.5 per cent alcohol volume and recently won prestigious one was the Great Taste 2 Stars in 2017.

David Sheppy
David Sheppy

"Made from naturally occurring yeasts found on the apple skins and fermented in 100-year-old oak barrels before blending, the cider taste profile is a combination of both traditional (dry and tannic) and dessert (sweet) apples including those grown here on the Sheppy's cider farm," David Sheppy, the sixth generation Sheppy who took charge in 1998, tells us over an email.

The process of cider-making has more similarities with wine than beer. "Our cider is made from traditional English bittersweet and dessert apples that we harvest from 90 acres of Somerset apples during autumn, between September and November. The apples are pressed, fermented, blended and bottled on site and it takes three to four months of fermentation using natural yeasts," says Sheppy.

The Sheppy family first started making cider in 1816. But, production was paused in 1941 during World War 2, when farms were ordered to produce crops to aid the war effort but resumed shortly after.

Before signing off, he tells us his food-cider pairing suggestions. "The English are partial to a 'Ploughman's lunch' which is a traditional platter of bread, cheddar cheese, chutneys and pickles, freshly sliced apple, ham. Or, even BBQs and pork dishes. Sheppy's Classic Draught makes a accompaniment to spicy food."

Available at leading wine stores and restaurants including Slink & Bardot, Olive Bistro, Cafe Zoe, Eddies, Bayview Café and Yauatcha. Over the next few months, they would be available in Delhi, Bengaluru, Goa, and Hyderabad at all the counters.

Cost: Rs 390

How good is it?
Beer and cider taster, Pratik Bavishi, who is on Instagram's as @brewunlimited, reviews the Sheppy's Classic Draught for us. The chilled bottle reads light, crisp and refreshing. "In terms of aroma, you get a waft of mild tart apple mixed with a slight floral aroma followed by a definite hint of funk. On the palate, it is semi dry, medium bodied and slightly tannic which goes well with the apple and a mild funk (barnyard) from the natural fermentation and time spent in oak barrels," says Bavishi. "This is a master blend that cloaks the sweetness so beautifully. The cider is apple forward, balanced, sessionable even at 5.5 per cent ABV and holds it character through till the end without the bite of carbonation." It's a thumbs up from Bavishi.

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